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Zalaabeh (Fritters)




  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons orange blossom water
  • 1 leaf rose-lemon scented geranium (if available)


  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 4 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Vegetable oil (for deep frying)


  1. Syrup: Measure sugar into saucepan, add water and bring to a hard boil. Add lemon juice and cook for 2 minutes. Add butter and orange blossom water and scented geranium leaf and remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
  2. Dough: In a small bowl, stir together yeast, sugar and water and leave for 10 minutes for yeast to proof and foam.
  3. Measure flour into a very large bowl and mix in cornstarch and salt. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined. Cover and leave in a warm draft-free place for 30 minutes to form bubbles. Stir well again.
  4. Pour enough vegetable oil for deep frying into a pot and place over medium high heat. Place a cup of water close by. To test the temperature of the oil, dip a teaspoon in the water, scoop out a spoonful of dough and carefully drop the dough into the hot oil. If the fritter browns too quickly, that means the oil is too hot; lower the heat. Keep dropping spoonsful of the dough into the oil until you have a full layer of fritters cooking. Turn them over once or twice until golden. Scoop out the fritters with a slotted spoon and lay them on paper towels (only for 10 seconds), and immediately drop them into the syrup. Turn fritters over until well coated, then scoop out and place in the serving bowl. Repeat until dough is used up.
  5. Eat warm or at room temperature. These will keep unrefrigerated loosely covered for a day or two.

Makes about 50 small fritters.

Serving variation: Drizzle the best quality melted chocolate over a mound of Zalaabeh in a platter.


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